New Airbus research and test centre opens in Filton

Airbus’ Aerospace Integrated Research and Test Centre (AIRTeC) in Filton, Bristol has been formally launched.

AIRTeC, which was opened by secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, Kwasi Kwarteng, is a £40 million research and testing facility jointly funded by the Government's ATI programme and Airbus.

Covering more than 10,000m2 of gross internal floor space – the equivalent of two football pitches – the centre is designed to undertake structural testing of large-scale aircraft assemblies, from full-size wings down to the individual components and materials used in aircraft design.

It provides the most advanced working environment and tools for Airbus alongside external suppliers, partners, and academia, to deliver the next generation of aircraft wing, landing-gear systems and fuel system designs.

The facility is a key asset in helping industry accelerate the design, manufacture, testing, certification, infrastructure, and commercial operation of zero-emission aircraft through sustained investment in R&T and R&D and fostering greater collaboration across sectors.

Companies in other sectors, such as maritime and nuclear, along with universities can also utilise AIRTeC's innovative, highly flexible, and easily adaptable environment, which includes 65,000m² of specialist test space, a 40m-long strong floor, and a 14 x 10m strong wall capable of testing full-size wings – with a force equivalent to the weight of 240 cars – using a 25MN high-capacity loading test machine.

The facility also includes labs, collaborative office space, and reconfigurable testing areas. This combination of test assets is unique in Europe. The facility will enable Airbus and its partners to develop new and cutting-edge designs and is central to Airbus' Wing of Tomorrow programme, which is exploring the best materials, manufacturing, and assembly techniques to help deliver more fuel-efficient, cleaner aircraft.

The Airbus Filton site is also home to a 3D printing plateau and digital manufacturing laboratory, as well as the Airbus low-speed wind tunnel.

John Harrison, general counsel and UK chairman of Airbus, said: “Airbus makes a significant contribution to the UK aerospace industry and we are delighted to welcome the Secretary of State to help us showcase our fantastic facility. AIRTeC will take our research and testing capabilities at Filton to the next level and will make us even more competitive for the future."




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